New Assessment Enrollment

This page has been updated to reflect the ABS announcement of March 15. Additional information about the new assessment process will be available later this spring.
  • As part of the ABS Continuous Certification Program, general surgery diplomates are able to participate in the new assessment process on an ongoing basis. Information regarding other ABS specialties will be available later this year.

Enrollment Timeline

      Current Diplomates
    • Diplomates with general surgery certificates expiring this year may use the new assessment process to continue their certification. The new general surgery assessment must be taken every other year. Diplomates will not be required to begin taking it until their certificate is due to expire.
    • The traditional general surgery recertification exam will be offered in 2018; however diplomates who pass this exam will still be required to begin the new assessment process by 2020.
    • Newly Certified Diplomates
    • This pathway is under review; look for more information later this spring.
    • Lapsed Diplomates
    • As part of the new assessment process, we are inviting surgeons whose general surgery certification has lapsed to regain their certification through a special pathway. This pathway will only be available for three years: 2018, 2019 and 2020. See our lapsed certificate policy for more details.

Registering for the Assessment

  • Registration for the 2018 general surgery assessment will be open from Aug. 1 to Oct. 15. The assessment will be available from Sept. 7 to Nov. 5.
  • To register for the new assessment process, diplomates must be up to date on meeting the requirements of the ABS Continuous Certification Program. This now includes submitting a 12-month operative log every 10 years and reference forms every five years. We will keep you informed of your status; you may also check your status anytime by going to My Continuous Certification.
  • Diplomates who are currently certified but not meeting Continuous Certification requirements will need to re-enter to register for the new assessment. See our re-entry policy for details.

Certification Status

  • Once participating in the new general surgery assessment process, a diplomate's certification status will be contingent on passing the assessment every other year, as well as meeting the other program requirements. This new paradigm is intended to more accurately reflect the rapid changes in surgical knowledge and practice and better promote high-quality patient care.
  • However, failing the assessment in a given year will not immediately affect certification status. Diplomates will be able to retake the assessment the following year (grace year) if necessary.

Grace Year

  • A grace year will always be provided in the year following the assessment for those who were unsuccessful and need to retake the assessment or otherwise catch up on requirements. Since for each assessment two opportunities are offered to answer a question correctly, this means a diplomate has four attempts to pass an open-book assessment before loss of certification status. Regaining certification after the grace year will then require successful completion of a secure exam.

Annual Fee

  • Participation will require an annual fee of $285, which covers one assessment every other year and general program participation. Diplomates will start paying the fee once they register for their first assessment. The annual fee reflects the ongoing development and implementation of the Continuous Certification Program, including diplomate status tracking and reporting, the CME Repository, and the new assessment process.

Reduction in CME and Self-Assessment

  • Once general surgery diplomates pass their first assessment, the current Continuous Certification requirement of 150 Category 1 CME credits over five years, with at least 50 including self-assessment, will change to 125 CME credits with no self-assessment required.

Issuance of Certificates

  • Upon passing the first general surgery assessment, diplomates will be issued a new certificate without an expiration date. A diplomate's current certification status will then be verified using the Check a Certification feature on the ABS website.

Refer also to our Video Overview and New Assessment FAQs. For specific inquiries, please contact the Continuous Certification coordinator.

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